Review: Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate (Universal Music Canada)

Michael KiwanukaWhere Michael Kiwanuka’s 2012 major-label debut Home Again reveled in an uplifting, soul-drenched sound, his newest record is, somewhat appropriately, staring down a much different reality. As implied by the album’s title, Love & Hate is a stark look at the modern world, where the 24 hour news cycle dominates and it seems we don’t go one week without bad news emerging from some corner of the globe. Opening with the expansive, psych-inspired “Cold Little Heart,” the singer then launches into the telling “Black Man In A White World,” ruminating on the racial inequalities that continue to plague the human race. Despite the heavy themes of isolation, longing and self examination that run throughout the record, Love & Hate evolves Kiwanuka’s career in unimaginable ways while still allowing the artist to maintain his soulful edge.